Category: Uncategorized

Letter to Xavier Rudd: Put Palestinians’ human rights first – Don’t play in Israel!


3 June 2019

Dear Xavier

We are Australians, some of Palestinian background, some Jewish, and all for universal and equal human rights, who support the Palestinian call for artists, sportspeople, and others to boycott Israel until indigenous Palestinians win back their equal human rights, rights denied them since 1948 when the new Israeli state used military force and terror to expel 700,000 Palestinians, and have denied them the right to return or redress ever since.

We see that you intend to perform two concerts in Binyamina in Israel in July. We ask you to reconsider this in the light of the increasingly well-known and well-supported boycott that began in 2005. A very long list of artists have done the right thing by Palestinian people, and given your well-established progressive credentials and lyrics, especially with regard to indigenous people worldwide, we strongly hope that you will do the same and place yourself on the right side of history and not perform in Israel.

The Israeli state has ignored repeated calls to adhere to international legal and human rights norms, steadfastly refusing to end its illegal 52-year occupation of the West Bank and its 11-year blockade of two million civilians in Gaza.

Prominent international musicians/acts who have endorsed the call from Palestinian civil society to boycott or who have cancelled concerts because of the boycott call include Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Roger Waters, Wolf Alice, Tom Morello, Elvis Costello, Lauryn Hill, Brian Eno, Massive Attack, Faithless, Sinead O’Connor, Souad Massi and Lorde. There are many others.

Prominent Australians who supported the recent campaign to boycott Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv include musician Nick Seymour, comedian Tom Ballard, musician L-FRESH The LION, actor Colin Friels, artist and performer Candy Bowers, commentator Helen Razer, former face of SBS Mary Kostakidis, and contemporary Aboriginal artist Blak Douglas.

We are very happy to organise a briefing for you and your team at any time and via any medium. We will connect you with Palestinians living in Australia so you can hear from them about the awful apartheid situation for Palestinians and why peaceful boycott, divestment and sanctions is the best way to advance the cause of Palestinians’ equal human rights, just as it was for indigenous South Africans in the apartheid era that ended with free elections and a new constitution in 1994, culminating in Nelson Mandela becoming president.

There are many more facts we could add to elaborate, but will keep it to these: Since May last year the Israel army has shot and killed more than 200 Palestinian refugees inside Gaza. Another 1700 young Gazans are facing amputation, mainly of their legs, due to Israeli sniper attacks, among the 7000 indigenous Palestinians shot by Israeli snipers in the last year as they protest to end the blockade and to not be refugees forever.

We look forward to your engagement with this life and death human rights issue and otherwise wish you very well with your summer northern hemisphere tour.

In good faith and in support of universal equal human rights,

BDS Australia

MEDIA RELEASE: BDS Australia condemns baseless attacks on pro-Palestine candidates

The Palestinian human rights advocacy organisation, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Australia, condemns the baseless and unprincipled attacks on candidates who expressed their support for Palestine in the recent federal election.

In the lead-up to the election, the ALP’s Melissa Parke and The Greens’ Mehreen Faruqi  were among the candidates from both parties attacked in the pages of the Murdoch and Jewish community press for their support for the Palestinian cause and association with the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)[1] against Israel and the bodies that support its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

“The insinuation by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry that Melissa Parke’s statement regarding the actions of the IDF at a checkpoint was untrue showed a disgraceful contempt for the facts and led to her unnecessary withdrawal as a strong ALP candidate”, says Hilmi Dabbagh from BDS Australia.

“Melissa Parke’s claims turned out not just to be factual, but on the public record since 2003. The incident, for which the soldier in question was arrested, was reported by Reuters and appeared in The Age in June 2003.”

“The Israel lobby’s efforts to smear supporters of Palestine during this campaign were only too predictable. It is simply chilling that the co-director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Peter Wertheim, could claim that circumstances could “exonerate” the IDF soldier who made a Palestinian woman drink bleach at a checkpoint. Nothing “exonerates” such a barbaric action.”

“Melissa Parke, Senator Mehreen Faruqi and other candidates[2] who were attacked by the Israel lobby are to be congratulated for their uncompromising support for Palestinians, human rights and international law and their commitment to a just peace for everyone in Palestine-Israel, regardless of their background.”

“The Greens maintained their strong support for Palestinian rights and their refusal to be cowed by the Israel lobby’s pressure is to be commended. They have not yet, however, gone far enough. We encourage The Greens, along with the ALP and indeed all political parties, to fully embrace Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS.”

“In its refusal to take a principled and long-needed stand against Israel’s crimes against Palestinian people, the Australian government has positioned itself as a particularly blinkered and irrational obstacle to peace in the Middle East. BDS Australia urges all Australians committed to peace and justice and the political parties that represent them, to adopt BDS as a matter of urgency.”

[1] Further information:
BDS is an international grassroots campaign initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005. In the face of the repeated failure of official negotiations to secure peace, the boycott movement emerged as a large-scale, civil-society response to Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian land, and the ongoing violations of human rights and international law that accompany it. BDS supports equal human rights and adherence to international law, and is opposed to racism in all forms including Anti-Semitism.

[2] Josh Wilson and Susan Templeman (ALP), James Cruz, Emmet de Bhaldraithe, Jonathon Doig and Connor Parissis (The Greens)




Supporters of Palestinians’ equal human rights will be loudly telling SBS board and management how disappointed they are that Eurovision 2019 – happening in apartheid Israel in 3 weeks’ time – is being treated as business as usual by the broadcaster, despite a global call for a boycott from Palestinian artists that is supported by thousands of Australians and prominent musicians and artists, including L-FRESH The Lion (former SBS Eurovision judge), Nick Seymour (Crowded House), Blak Douglas (contemporary indigenous artist), Candy Bowers (artist/creator), Miriam Margoyles (actor) and Colin Friels (actor).


* Palestine Action Group spokesperson
* BDS Australia spokesperson
* Independent candidate for Wentworth (campaigning for ethical foreign policy focusing on Palestine/Israel and West Papua/Indonesia)

Messages from:

* Mary Kostakidis (former face of SBS News)
* Helen Razer (outspoken journalist and opinion-maker)
* Tom Ballard (comedian and podcaster)

PLACE: SBS, 14 Herbert St, Artarmon
CONTACT: Bruce Knobloch 0425282450

Statement on the latest bombing of Gaza: Israel must end the 11-year blockade of Gaza

Palestinians have a right to resist the Israeli occupation, including the illegal and brutal 11-year blockade of Gaza. The living situation for the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza is terrible and getting worse.

We stand in solidarity with the Great March of Return protestors who every Friday assemble at the fence and demand equal human rights with the Israelis on the other side. These young people refuse to be trapped in the open air prison created by the Israeli government and abetted by the Egyptian dictatorship. They refuse to be refugees forever.

Rocket attacks against civilians are illegal and ineffective. There is no military solution for Palestinians. Israel – backed by massive funding from the USA – has overwhelming conventional dominance. Israeli civilians – like Palestinian civilians – must never be targeted. Despite this legal prohibition, civilians in Gaza have repeatedly been attacked by the Israeli army, with about 1,500 killed in Israel’s 7-week bombardment of Gaza in 2014.

The refusal of Palestinians to meekly play the part of the conquered, by protesting for equality and dignity, whether in Gaza, the West Bank or increasingly within Israel, is inevitable. Palestinians have never accepted the cruel deal imposed on them in 1947-48. They have always resisted the occupation and the stunting of their lives and those of their children.

Our solidarity through peaceful, targeted, determined BDS campaigning is removing the cloak of legitimacy that once allowed the Israeli state to promote the myth that Palestinians did not exist and that Israel was a normal society. Social media allows Palestinians at home and throughout the diaspora to speak for themselves and demand the right to return home.

With Israeli elections just weeks away it suits Netanyahu to be seen as a strongman. But whichever chauvinist wins the election the situation for Palestinians will remain desperate and international solidarity remains vital.

We urge people to join Land Day rallies on this Saturday 30 March to commemorate the first anniversary of the beginning of the Great March of Return actions in Gaza.

Sydney: 1 PM, First Fleet Park, Circular Quay

Melbourne: 1 PM, State Library of Victoria

BDS Australia national committee

In many languages these SBS viewers have one message: “We love Eurovision, but we love human rights more.” #BoycottEurovision2019

Diverse members of the Australian community send a message to SBS, Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, to support the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) Australia call to cancel this year’s Eurovision broadcast from Israel. In many languages these SBS viewers have one message: “We love Eurovision, but we love human rights more.”

In every Eurovision country campaigners are working in solidarity with the struggle of Palestinian people for their equal human rights and the upholding of international law. They are calling on organisations like SBS that broadcast and promote the song contest to end their participation because this year Eurovision is not ‘bringing people together.’


News report and video of our actions at Eurovision ‘Australia Decides’ on 9 February 2019

Justice for Palestine Brisbane and BDS Australia held a protest event to meet with the fans going in to Eurovision ‘Australia Decides’ to explain why we are calling for a boycott, that “we love Eurovision, but we love human rights more.”

And below is some video footage of a boycott supporter unfurling a banner inside the event at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.

Boycotting Eurovision: Why Aren’t Progressives Doing More For Palestine?

It’s a great question posed by our BDS Australia committee member Nick Riemer in New Matilda today – Boycotting Eurovision: Why Aren’t Progressives Doing More For Palestine?

“Disapproval of the actions of Israel and sympathy for Palestinians in public opinion is high. But, as every Palestine campaigner here knows, translating agreement into action can often be an uphill battle.”

It really helps if you:
1/ Sign our Boycott Eurovision 2019 SBS petition
2/ Make a donation of any size to support our work
3/ Like our Facebook page
4/ Share these^ links.
5/ Do all of the above!

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